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Microsoft and Yahoo rumours resurface

Microsoft could reach an alliance with Yahoo that could compete better with Google in online search advertising, according to media reports. Microsoft has been courting Yahoo on and off since February 2008, when it offered to buy the company for $44.6 billion in cash and shares. The offer was rejected and consequent discussions focused on Microsoft taking over Yahoo’s search and advertising businesses. The latest deal would call for Microsoft paying Yahoo several billion dollars for its search advertising business, with Yahoo also receiving ongoing payments, according to All Things Digital, a blog owned by the Wall Street Journal. Microsoft and Yahoo could announce a deal this week, as both companies are due to announce their quarterly financial results.

Oracle hikes price of database add-ons

Oracle’s decision to hike the price of some add-ons for its flagship database by about 40 percent was far from a random act, since the modules are crucial to getting the database to perform at the highest level, analysts said. An official price list dated July 1 states that processor licenses for Oracle’s database diagnostic and tuning packs, as well as a database configuration management pack, are now US$5,000, up from $3,500 listed on a December 2008 price list. “With every version of [Oracle’s database], the dependency [on these products has become greater and greater” due to increased complexity in customer environments, according Eliot Arlo Colon, president of Miro Consulting, a New Jersey company that advises customers on Oracle software license negotiations. Not using the modules “is like giving someone a powerful engine, but not giving them the high-octane fuel to go with it,” he said.

AMD sets sites on bargain processor market

Advanced Micro Devices is getting ready to put Neo chips in low-power desktop products, upping the ante in its battle with rival Intel, which offers processors for similar devices. AMD originally designed Neo for products like ultrathin laptops, thin and light laptops that can deliver full functionality at affordable prices. However the chip designer is now expanding the chip’s use to all-in-one PCs and nettops, which are small, low-cost desktop PCs the size of a hardcover book. Intel offers Atom processors that are already being used in similar systems. The main target for the Neo chips remains ultrathin laptops, but some PC makers are putting the processors in nettops and all-in-ones, said Bob Grim, director of client marketing for AMD.

18-meter tall robot seen in Tokyo

The full-size Gundam statue that was recently unveiled in a Tokyo park has attracted thousands of people already, many of whom have snapped pictures and stared in awe at the 18-meter-high robot. On Friday one lucky — and likely wealthy — fan earned the chance to inspect the giant robot eye-to-eye. That encounter was put up for auction to raise money for the Tokyo Bid Committee for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. The auction ended on Friday at 5 p.m. local time with a winning bid of ¥2.6 million (US$27,742) to go up to the top of the Gundam statue in a cherry-picker. Gundam is a series of Japanese anime featuring giant robots and is popular with kids of all ages in Japan and other countries.

…And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Sumner Lemon in Singapore. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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